Peng Shuai: WTA continues total ban on Chinese events throughout 2022, trying to find a solution

Last November, the Chinese government feared that tennis star Peng would be held incommunicado after she accused retired Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing her to have sex during a years-long relationship.

Peng, a three-time Olympian and Grand Slam champion in doubles, later denied having filed a sexual assault complaint.

The WTA continued to call for a thorough and transparent investigation into Peng’s allegations and suspended all tournaments in China due to her safety.

“We remain committed to finding a solution to this problem,” Simon told The Tennis Podcast.

“We want to find a solution that suits Peng, that suits the Chinese government, and that that suits us.

“We are not going to leave China. We have suspended our operations there right now. We will continue to do this until we come to a decision.

“We will remain determined. We hope to return there in 2023 with a resolution that shows progress has been made in space. This is a victory for the whole world if we can achieve it.”

China’s government-controlled media lashed out at the WTA on Twitter after it announced a total ban last year, accusing the governing body of “exaggerated show” and “supporting a Western attack on the Chinese system.”

But Simon insists the organization won’t just walk away from the problem.

Peng Shuai during a singles match in 2019.

“We must find a solution”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Olympic officials met with Peng in February, fulfilling a promise to meet with the athlete.

The dinner, held on the sidelines of the Beijing Winter Games, was the first face-to-face meeting between IOC President Thomas Bach and Peng since the former Olympic champion made the allegations, which have since been erased from the Chinese Internet.

Bach and Peng first agreed to meet during the Beijing Olympics during a video call last November, but the IOC has come under fire for its handling of the situation, with critics accusing it of backing the Chinese government’s efforts to silence Peng.

Simon said last year that the IOC’s intervention was not enough to allay concerns about Pan’s safety.

“We haven’t had any recent interaction with Peng and the world hasn’t seen Peng since the Olympics either,” Simon added.

“I don’t think that you will change this world by giving up problems. You must create change.

“Maybe that’s not all we need. But we have to find a solution that strikes a balance that allows us to go back and see progress in this area.”